Mumbai Taximen: Life and Labor in a City on the Move

Friday, March 4, 2022, 2:00pm to 3:30pm PST
Tarini Bedi, University of Illinois


How do people really know a city they live and work in? In this talk, we will be introduced to how people come to know and sense their cities through the life, work, and expertise of a community of hereditary taxi-drivers of Mumbai, the chillia. Through the eyes of chillia drivers we will be introduced to Mumbai’s roads, built environment and urban life. Using sound, images and some excerpts from Tarini Bedi's new book, Mumbai Taximen: Autobiographies and Automobilities in India, we will move through the city via taxi. We will hear the sounds, bumps, and smells of Mumbai’s roads to learn how drivers have historically developed an intimate sensory knowledge of driving in a city like Mumbai.


Tarini Bedi, Director, Mobilities/Methods Lab, University of Illinois at Chicago

Tarini Bedi is an urban anthropologist and cultural geographer who conducts research in South and Southeast Asia. She is Associate Professor of sociocultural anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of urban, political, and economic anthropology, anthropology of infrastructure and mobilities, cultural geography, and gender studies. Her first book, The Dashing Ladies of Shiv Sena: Political Matronage in Urbanizing India (2016, SUNY Press) develops a feminist theory of brokerage politics. It is particularly interested in the expressive, masculinized, and visual forms of politics utilized by low-level women politicians in Western India. Her most recent book, Mumbai Taximen: Autobiographies and Automobilities in India has just been published by University of Washington Press’ Global South Asia Series.


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This event is co-hosted by TREC and the Portland State University Department International and Global Studies. 

The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and professionals through education.